The other day I received in the mail a campaign flyer, which was paid for by the ‘committee to Re-elect Congressman Vito Fossella.’ Fossella represents New York State’s 13th District, which includes Staten Island and sections of Brooklyn.
The last time I checked I thought Fossella was a Republican but there was no way one could tell from reading the flyer. Now most of us know how intolerant a place like New York can be towards Republicans and Mr. Fossella is running for public office as the only Congressional Republican from the city. Therefore it’s somewhat understandable that he’ll want to include pictures of himself standing next to Hillary Clinton and emphasize how he’s an ‘independent’ and ‘bipartisan’ leader. However, for me personally, he goes a bit too far when he includes newspaper quotes that say things like “Fossella has shown his independence from the Bush Administration’s agenda by his unequivocal support for public broadcasting and stem cell research while opposing the idea of privatizing Social Security.” I find that disappointing because as an American I don’t like my tax money used for public broadcasting, stem cell research and I fully support the privatization of Social Security. The privatization of Social Security would create an explosion of new jobs in Wall Street and throughout the city. Also all Americans who invest their retirement savings in the stock market would get much more reliable and higher returns than they would under the current system. But I digress.
My point is, as a Republican voter, what meaningful choices do I have to vote for people who represent my interests? If my candidate loses then so be it. This is the nature of free elections and participatory government. However, from what I can tell Mr. Fossella is a Republican who votes like a Democrat. Why would I vote for him? Why would a Democrat who wants a genuine Democrat vote for him? Mr. Fossella may very well get re-elected, and despite all that I’ve said, I hope he does because the alternatives and consequences may be far worse. However, it is this type of political equivocation throughout the party that has caused it to unravel in New York State and stagnate in the national polls as we head to the elections in November. Bush and Congress’s lax treatment of immigration, perpetual spending and ambivalent treatment of the war in Iraq has left many conservatives uninspired, to say the least. Along with the Harriet Myers quagmire and the failed Dubai Ports deal the party is truly testing the endurance of voters who are loyal to the party’s goals and values. Unfortunately the timing of this test is inauspicious as we are dealing with international terrorism and are in desperate need to change judges such as the one who recently gave a 28-month sentence rather than a 30-year sentence to attorney Lynne Stewart for assisting known terrorists.
I'll still vote for Republicans like Mr. Fossella mainly because I fear a Democrat-run Congress, but it won't be easy.